Saturday, February 12, 2011

Smack Down

Job 39
"Can you bind the wild ox in a furrow with ropes, Or will he harrow the valleys after you?
11 "Will you trust him because his strength is great and leave your labor to him? 12 "Will you have faith in him that he will return your grain and gather it from your threshing floor ?"

Can you imagine catching a wild ox, hooking it up to a yoke, telling it where to plow and then setting him loose to do what you told him to do? Or perhaps consulting with the ox as to which fields to plow and when? Or heck, just letting the ox make that decision for himself?

Job 38 through 40 are some of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible. God reveals the wisdom of man for what it really is: foolishness and His wisdom for what it is: perfect and complete. Chapter 38 begins with God booming out of a whirlwind: "Who is this who darkens counsel with words without knowledge?" I get giddy just reading that verse. I love a good smack down! Unless, of course, I'm the one being smacked down.

Upon reflection of those passages I was convicted and have to say, "Me LORD. I confess. It was me." How many times have I presumed to know or understand the ways of the LORD. How many times have I been as foolish as Bildad, Eliphaz and Zophar offering foolish advice to myself and others? Or claiming some promise found in the Bible out of context? Or just making decisions on my own based on my own understanding.

While sitting in the waiting room on Thursday, waiting one hour, two hours, three hours and then four hours for the surgeon to come out and give his report on Jeremy, a lot of Scriptures came to my mind. One in particular was Jeremiah 29:11. That verse is a favorite of so many, myself included, but often it is misunderstood because it is not read in context.

"'For I know the plans I have for you', declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you,not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'"

As I was sitting and waiting, God began to clarifying some things for me. God knows His plans. I do not know His plans. His biggest plan for our hope and future, of course, is Jesus Christ and the eternal salvation that is found only in Him. And truly, that is enough but we always want more, don't we? I do. We want to be comfortable. We want to be healthy. We want to feel secure. I want to know what is going to happen tomorrow and I worry and fret because I don't. We think we know what it means for us to prosper, to not be harmed. Sometimes, nothing could be further from the truth. Sometimes the very thing we think will destroy us is the best thing that could ever happen to us.

Here's a little conversation I had in my head with Him in the waiting room, "Now LORD, if you will just kindly tell me what the plan is I would appreciate it. If you would just tell me how this is all going to turn out I wouldn't be so worried right now. I could really trust in You if I knew Your plan." As my mother said in a book she wrote commenting on a similar situation in her own life, "LORD, if you would just tell me the plan then I could plan for Your plan."

And that, my friends, is exactly why I think He doesn't always reveal the details of the immediate future to us. He doesn't want us planning for the plan. (His big plan has been revealed and is available for your perusal. See Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21. Spoiler alert: It ends really well for those who love Him and really bad for those who don't. But what I'm talking about here is the details of our day-to-day lives, i.e. "Is my husband going to make it out of surgery alive?") He wants us obedient in the moment. He wants us to depend on Him, to seek Him and to trust in Him moment-by-moment.

The verses that follows Jeremiah 29:11 are rarely quoted with it but they say, "Then you will call upon me and pray to Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by You, declares the LORD..."

God wants relationship with me, even me. He has all the heavenly realm bowing before Him, singing praises to Him, worshipping Him in truth for they see and know Him as he really is and yet, He wants me to know Him personally. He wants to reveal, not His plan, but Himself to me. God did not say through Jeremiah the prophet that when I sought God He would reveal His plan to me. He said He would reveal Himself to me. "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you." That is awesome in the true sense of the word.

The appropriate response then is to seek Him for Him and not for the revelation of His plan. In my wisdom, I think knowing the plan would bring me comfort, peace, strength, etc. But that is wrong. Comfort, peace and strength come from knowing Him. Does an ox demand the Master to tell him which row He's going to plow next? No, he does not. Nor shall I. I shall continue putting one foot in front of the other until He tells me differently. He knows His plans and it is enough for me to continue to progressively come to know Him as I seek Him with my whole heart.


  1. Thanks for the insight Mindee. I NEEDED to be reminded of this for my own life right about now.

  2. So glad you're a channel for the Lord. I enjoyed the "spoiler alert". And I'm glad to be walking those steps one after another with ya friend.

  3. Girl, For reals. Absolutely I fall in this trap. We can know God's will for our lives, but not necessarily how his plan is executed. Something God is showing me is to just think about today. God, give me my daily portion. Just today. That has been so helpful and encouraging to me than thinking about the future. Thanks for your encouragement!